Ben Stokes caught hobbling on the field during third day

England further tightened their grip in the one-off Test against Ireland on Saturday, May 3, as they managed to pick six wickets in Ireland’s second innings with the visitors still trailing by 137 runs at Lunch on Day 3. However, during an eventful day, there was a cause of worry for England fans as captain Ben Stokes was seen limping on the field after taking a catch during the first session.

The incident took place during the 44th over of the innings as Curtis Campher swept a ball from Joe Root straight to short fine-leg and Stokes completed the catch to end his stay in the middle. However, as soon as he completed the catch, the England captain was seen in trouble as he was spotted hobbling.

Notably, Stokes could feature in just the first two matches for Chennai Super Kings in the recently concluded IPL 2023, and warmed the bench due to injury for the rest of the season. The all-rounder further came back home for the Ireland Test after the last league game against Delhi Capitals. He bowled just one over during the two matches which further rose questions on his match fitness.

The 31-year-old is still not at 100 per cent ahead of the Ashes 2023, which is a worrying sign for England as they look to regain the urn for the first time since 2015. Stokes’ absence during the much-anticipated series will be a huge blow for the hosts as they haven’t named a designated vice-captain in their Ashes squad.

England in imperious form under Stokes’ leadership

England are coming into the series, enjoying a great run under the new leadership of captain Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum where they have won ten out of the twelve Tests. The English side has revolutionized Test cricket with their new style of batting popularly called the ‘Bazball’ style where they’re scoring runs at a rate unfamiliar to the longest format.

The first Ashes Test will be played from June 16 at Edgbaston which gives Stokes 11 days of rest ahead of the big series. England fans would hope to see their skipper at his 100 per cent during the first Test and lead his side to their first Ashes win after eight years. However, the visuals on Day 3 of the Ireland Test paint a gloomy picture of the summer ahead.

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